The key to work-life balance lies inside
The old adage of work-life balance has been discussed plentifully for years yet still proves to be topical and of interest to people. We all strive to achieve it but do we know what success with this looks like?
I prefer the term work-life integration as believe a state can be achieved where they are integrated seamlessly. Where you do business with your friends, you don’t have the TGIF syndrome and are living one whole complete, authentic life.
So where to start? I find a useful starting point is filling in some form of a wheel of life. I filled in one of these when I first started working with a mentor in 2013 and found it a very powerful exercise. One insight that I had was a yearning for more art and culture in my life having had a big passion for this when I was younger. An action resulting from this was instigating a monthly cultural outing with my friend and colleague John where we pick something for each other on alternate months. This is still going and is a great outlay for that yearning which was hidden deep inside.
I would highly recommend this wheel of life activity and there is a version on mindtools.com where you can create your own wheel headings as we are all unique. Here is an example from the site below. This is a very person orientated one whereas mine included headings such as cultural activities, triathlon, career, financial situation and spiritual activities such as yoga. I’ve found it best to rank where you’re currently at and where you’d like to be. Once you’ve completed your wheel, a couple of tips:
- Pick one or two areas to focus on where there are the biggest gaps in current ranking and aspired ranking.
- What is a Specific Measurable Attractive Realistic and Time Lined (SMART) action you can take here?
I had a coaching session with a friend last weekend on this subject and she had a powerful ‘aha’ moment. By focusing internally on her inner contentment and happiness she can have a knock on effect on all the areas of her wheel of life. To start this process she will be doing a meditation for 10-20 minutes, 4-5 times a week. She shared that she saw a circle of inner contentment and happiness around all of the other wheel spokes. I thought this makes sense, once we are kind to ourselves, non judging and thankful for what we have time with our partners, friends, family, colleagues etc will be more present and quality.
For those who would like some tips on work-life balance in a traditional sense:
- Just leave the desk on time, your to do list will still be there tomorrow 🙂
- Start your day with a meditation practice – my new favourite app is Andrew Johnson Relax Plus – think a soothing Sean Connery style Scottish voice!
- Find a best friend at work – this is a question in the Gallup Q12 engagement survey and has been proven to increase engagement at work
- Utilise support that exists in your workplace such as coaching and mentoring
- Value your relationships, strong social networks have been proven to enhance our wellbeing
As a finishing note I wondered how you are all getting on with any New Year intentions set? One for me was to cook with more fresh ingredients and superfoods after a trip to Golden Door Health Retreat. It has been a fun week trialing some recipes passed on by my friends Bel and Myza. It has entailed a kitchen blender explosion and discovery that the husband is not a chia seed or almond milk fan! There have been some successes with healthy wraps for lunch and more fish in the diet. What I’ve learnt however is the stages of change are not easy, especially in a system broader than yourself that contains others and commitments. You may have the best intention to go to the gym every morning then something comes up with the kids that prevents this. My advice is to not be too hard on yourself and create extra stress from resenting the fact you haven’t religiously stuck to your intention. We’re all trying our best and need to keep adaptable to life’s constant change and enjoy ourselves. Even small changes can make a difference in the long run. Until next time.